An occasional series of open discussions with opposition fans. They can say what they like about Chelsea and I promise to just shut up and listen.
This is Tomy. Not Tommy, Tomy. She is from a long line of – no, let Tomy describe it herself…
When did you start supporting Everton?
I can’t remember honestly. As early as I can remember. My Dad used to rattle off the names of Lebone, Harvey and Royle at me when I was little. Ferguson and Sharp, the two Stevens. [laughs] I never saw any of them! He and my Grandad would go to games together sometimes, so I’m from a long line of Evertonians. My first game I went to was in the early 1980s I think but who knows, I can’t remember much about it.
My first memories of going to the games aren’t about the games themselves. They aren’t even about being inside the ground.
I do vividly remember the lines of people at the turnstiles waiting to get in, and the programme sellers. And the atmosphere was such fun, it was like a school outing, men in their scarves and that, everybody happy and laughing and the smell of chips and onions. I always had chips. Sounds like a scene from some film, doesn’t it, but that’s what I can remember. Along with some lovely memories of my Dad.
Do you remember the first ever goal you saw?
No. I can’t even remember what my first game was. I think the first time I can put a name to a game is an Everton v Arsenal game in the Cup– no I don’t know which – and we lost. Around the late 80’s, 88 or 89. But I’d been to a few by then I’m sure.
What memory of Everton will you still remember when you are old and senile?
Losing the 1985 Cup Final. It was my first sort of big-event defeat. Apparently I went out to the neighbours and told them we had won and no one contradicted me. Dont laugh, I was very young. Then the 1995 Cup Final win. I don’t think I will forget any games I see these days though – they are few and far between. I only get to like 8, 10 home games a season for the past few years for different reasons.
So back to today, and Everton has a new boss.
Yes, Martinez, at his level he’s a pretty good manager.
That doesn’t sound like a great endorsement?
“At his level” sounds like a criticism hidden inside a compliment.
I don’t mean it as a criticism. Too early for that. It’s just that we don’t know his level yet. Yes, he plays attractive football and yes he is well proven in Championship football, and probably too as a bottom half of the Premier League manager.
He had a great team at Swansea that won games and a great team at Wigan that didn’t win many games. But Everton are a different level, a different sort of club. We are without doubt I think a top half of the table club and team, and could push for Europe if one of the top six blows it. Like Spurs. But is he the man to deal with that – I don’t know. It’s a lot of pressure. Time will tell. To be fair, Bill Kenwright rarely gets it wrong, so we’ll see.
Jury’s out then?
For now, yes, but by Christmas we should have some idea.
Everton have always been a side that’s difficult to beat. Martinez plays a more expansive style. What’s going to happen this season?
That’s the question, you see. A more open style may mean more wins, or more defeats, depends how you look at it. May mean more wins – we’ve strengthened up front with Lukaku and McCarthy, added Barry for a bit more steel. Baines stayed. [shrugs] I just don’t know. We have to compromise maybe.
It’s exciting times but nervous too. A bad run before Christmas and…
You really don’t sound very confident
I never am. I’m not un-confident. I just worry in case Martinez tries to change our style too much too soon. That would be a disaster. Let’s get to 35 points with a good few games left and then we can start to think about being flamboyant.
Early days I know, but how have you viewed your performances so far?
From a seat in the stands! Haha! No, curates egg – good in parts. Three draws is very very okay. We haven’t played well, haven’t played badly. That must be good, especially after Marouane Fellaini leaving.
Let me pin you down then: what will be your final position?
If all goes well, we don’t compromise our solid style and Lukaku knocks them in like at West Brom, Europa League. On the other hand, too much change too soon, and we could struggle to finish half way, 10th, 12th I reckon.
Talking of Romelu Lukaku?
Excellent forward. I’m delighted we got him. He and McCarthy should make a good combination. He scored a good few goals last season and West Brom weren’t the most attacking side in the world were they? I thought he tended to drift out of games sometimes, maybe he’ll learn to control that a bit this season. But he’s got everything hasn’t he – power, speed, skill. I’m surprised we got him though.
I believe he had a number of options but chose Everton.
Didn’t Kevin Mirallas have something to do with that. I read it somewhere. But he’s great. Don’t you folks call him Baby Drogba or something? Very similar. I couldn’t see him playing at Chelsea or any other top 3 side regularly this season, though I did think he’d stay to learn off Eto’o, but maybe he wanted regular games.
So you think Chelsea are a top 3 side?
Much as I hate to say this, I can only see Man City beating you to the title. To be honest I’ve never had a lot of time for Chelsea, one of those clubs you love to hate aren’t they?
For me, yes. Mainly because my older brother supports them. We are all Evertonians in our family, apart from him, and he gives us a lot of stick – a lot of stick – when we lose to them. He takes a hell of a lot too, when we win. I like Jose and the players – its like, you know, with Man United you sort of respect what the club’s achieved but you hate their fans The same with Chelsea. [Laughs]. Maybe hate is too much, your fans are not as arrogant as Man U or Liverpool but you are getting close.
Back to Everton. Who is your favourite player of all time?
Cahill. Always there, always vital, always scoring when needed. He didn’t look big and strong when you saw him on the pitch but oh my god he was so strong and superb in the air, crossing, everything. It also helped he was very good looking. I thought so anyway.
Your favourite player at the moment?
Now Marouane has left it has to be Leighton Baines. I love his movement, superb going forward or defending, better than Cole defending in my opinion. I might be biased though. If it wasn’t for Cole he’d have been England’s number one left back for years.
I wouldn’t argue with that.
Nor would anyone else. Luke Shaw, coming through at Southampton, reminds me of a young Bainesy, but until Shaw appeared there really was no one to challenge either Baines and Cole.
Everton must give Leighton Baines a new contract very soon. I suspect that may be the reason he stayed, the offer of a new contract; but they must do it to show how respected and wanted he is and to stop any more transfer business in the January window.
Talking of transfers, then, how was the transfer window for you?
Yeh, fine. I wasn’t happy to see Marouane leaving for down-the-road, but Barry coming in will add some steel and nous, and of course McCarthy and Lukaku are fine players. All in all, ok, pretty good. We have some fine young players coming through too – Ross Barclay, Luke Garbutt, Pennington, Kennedy, and keep an eye out for Vellios over the next few seasons. We want to get them involved and not block their way. Like you do at Chelsea.
Ouch! Moving on, Everton v Chelsea coming up…
The last time I saw Chelsea we won 2-0. I’d be happy with that again. Steven Pienaar scored the first. Jelavic, who had looked very good, was injured, so Stracqualursi played and scored. (Got the spelling for his name?) We deserved all the points. Chelsea were average, but only average. I can’t say I thought much of AVB based on the fact that Malouda was on the bench and when he came on I thought he was great.
Are you going to the Chelsea game?
Yes, I will definitely be there. I missed the first game of the season, and the Stevenage Cup game as well, as I was away, so I’m really looking forward to this. Plus there’s a Spanish fiesta affair on before the game, so that ought to be fun.
Have you ever been to Stamford Bridge?
My brother took me once, he was working down there. In London not at the Bridge. It was Mourinho’s first season and we lost 1-0. Very disappointing, but to be fair Chelsea were better. Disappointing though. I thought we were going to win something that year.
Well, I was young and foolish lol and everyone had told me about 1985 when we won the Double and nearly got the Treble. Then 1995 when we won the FA Cup. Everyone said we would win something in 2005, and even after selling Rooney we started to have a good run in the League. I think we finished fourth or fifth.
What is your prediction for Chelsea this season?
Its going to be close, 1st or 2nd.
Your FA Cup prediction?
Everton to beat Arsenal in the Final. Lukaku to score by the way. I think Lukaku, like your Didier Drogba, like Carroll to a certain extent, has the abilities to make the most of Arsenals rickety defence. And while we’re talking Cups, I also fancy our chances in the League Cup. There you go, Everton the double Cup winners.
That would be great for Everton, and passage into Europe too. So who do you predict winning in Europe this season?
I can’t see much past the big four, can you? Barca, PSG, Real or Bayern.
No, not this season. Next, maybe. I reckon Jose really will do it within the next three or four years though. You can’t write them off though because Chelsea when they won it, they were the second best team against Barcelona and against Bayern. Credit where it’s due, it was a victory of sheer determination.
Especially in the final, I thought Chelsea looked poor because Bayern controlled the game and didn’t let Chelsea play. Even so, your side still produced a few chances and you couldn’t argue with the fact Chelsea defended a hell of a lot better and a hell of a lot more determinedly than Bayern Munich did. But this time I think you are lacking in one key area.
Where are we lacking?
Defensive midfield. Attack – superb. But you need someone like Patrick Viera to win the ball and power it forward. Dare I say, like Gareth Barry? But with what you’ve got, I think the bigger teams might over-run midfield, especially in the quarters or semis when you face the big boys. That’ll leave you having to play long ball, and you don’t have the players up front to play that way. We do, because we’ve got your Lukaku.
So, who’s going to win in Europe?
Bayern to win. Spurs to win the Europa, fading badly in the League and letting Everton into fourth place for a shock Champions League place! That would be nice.
If there was a player from Chelsea you could have for free, who would it be?
A few years ago I’d have gone for Lampard. Now it’s Mata, the perfect attacking midfield player and one of the best in Europe. And he’s so dishy, he’s got a lovely smile.
Club or Country?
Club. I don’t see the point of internationals, complete and utter total waste of time. Its prestige for the winners to be fair, but what do sides like Scotland get out of it. A couple of extra quid and some injuries. I’m half Scottish see. But I don’t want to see Scotland play and I certainly don’t want to watch England. I just want to watch Everton. I guess most people feel like that about their club.
Five star dining or greasy spoon?
Both. Sausage and chips and caviar and champagne. The hotel has to be five star though. Let’s go.
Coronation Street or Emmerdale
Anything except Corrie. Even Eastenders over Corrie. But I’m not really a soap person.
Your name, Tomy, where’d it come from?
I wondered if you’d ask that. Its my nickname, you know that, but it’s from when I was little and I wanted everyone to call me Thomasina, so Thomasina I was for a while. And then it became Tomy. And Tomy stuck. Obviously I like it.
You have been a brilliant interviewee-type person. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Lets do this again for the London game.